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Cognitive Behavior Therapy Reduces IBS Symptoms — an article on the Smart Living Network
August 7, 2009 at 8:25 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Reduces IBS Symptoms


IBS is the most common chronic health disorder in the United States today. Characterized by uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, having IBS can make life rough. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat the pesky symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. What are some treatments for the symptoms of IBS?

  • Diet
  • Supplements
  • Stress management
  • Prescription medications
  • Alternative therapies

What is cognitive behavior therapy? Cognitive behavioral therapy in the blending of two different types of therapy (cognitive and behavior). Behavioral therapy helps define the association between circumstances and a person's reaction to those circumstances. Reactions such as depression, self-damaging behavior, fear, and rage can occur in result of stress or everyday occurrences. In therapy people are taught how to improve decision making skills and have better thought processes by calming the body and the mind. Cognitive therapy inspects the relationship between symptoms and thoughts. Some thoughts can lead to false perceptions about normal, everyday problems. Thoughts can range anywhere from anxiety, depression, and anger.

How does cognitive behavioral therapy work? CBT functions like a class. A therapist and patient work together to achieve goals and figure out which methods are effective. After gathering information the first couple of sessions, Patients learn about IBS and bodily functions in general. It is very informational, and techniques for muscle relaxation are taught. Biofeedback happens in later sessions. Patients start to learn to gain control over stressful situations and their immediate reactions to stress. CBT involves homework assignments, to keep patients continuing the work done in therapy sessions. Later on, positive self talk is used to counteract former negative emotions and responses. It is then examined how that relationship is associated with IBS. How can I prevent IBS? Since there is no known cause of IBS, slight changes in lifestyle are a good start. Minimizing stress can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Some other options to consider would be to do regular yoga, meditation, or exercise. Some people try hypnosis. Others believe in the power of relaxation exercises. Whatever works for you and minimized stress, try it and see if it works. If it doesn't seem to help, move on to something different until you find one that works perfectly for you. How can I relive symptoms of IBS? Treatment concentrates mainly on relieving symptoms. There is no clear cause of IBS. IBS is known as a functional disorder, and not a disease. If you can make slight lifestyle changes and learn to manage stress, then keeping IBS under control is very possible. Some suggestions include:

  • Counseling or self help groups.
  • Specific IBS medications.
  • Cutting out high gas foods.
  • Fiber supplements.
  • Antidepressant medications.
  • Anti-diarrhea medications.

How is IBS diagnosed? IBS is diagnosed by exclusion. In 1988 a group of physicians set up "The Rome Criteria" as a sample guideline to more accurately diagnose IBS. A complete medical history and exam are usually recommended.

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